tv Today in Washington CSPAN February 25, 2011 2:00am-5:59am EST
suggest that you think about their view of the consumer of the future purses may be what we might start off today. i should probably use the word "consumer." you think about them not just in the middle of postoperative care or other things like that, but may be early on. i would love to see some the things they are talking about. there are so many stories. i was at a meeting in chicago. newt gingrich was there. that was fascinating. newt gingrich told a story of trying to manage down the cost of health care and a county in rural southern states and talking about the social conflict between recognition of a young adolescent headed for
its severe obesity and the consequences of that, of being unwilling to intervene. and then complaining about having to pay for the cost of the reno -- the renal care. how do we create technology and support systems that cross over all of the aspects of care? had we figure out how to measure risk and reward the right behavior to the right people? the incentives are not here today. i believe we will go to more of a risk model. that is when you start getting the best behavior out of the system.
all of them are rewarded for this kind of behavior. you have to understand how to evaluate that risk. ending care management support. the upper end of the spectrum is treating this. there is a past majority that are night there -- that are not there. they can be helpful. if you look up what it is going to take to do the things i am describing, you are going to have to have a different leadership and governance model. providers have a real challenge. the incentives for doctors, if you look at them by age, a
specialty, the incentives are very difficult to influence behavior. it'll take a different governance model. you are glad to have to have the kind of information that helps you cross your population. being able to save data as of april population there are real time decisions with real-boards on how to care for patients and how to do clinical re- engineering.
network and physician alignment. he mentioned the challenges of physician alignment. if you talk to people who are doing very big things today in the provider world, i think you'll get lots of different definition. there is access to capital. it is hard for not for profits. there are a whole host of skills and risk-management. i a take this down to competencies'. i think most i talked till are open-minded about collaboration.
it could be a fool -- full arrangement. i think you'll find they are interested in having discussions on how to collaborate with the providers. they see the future. dana the bottle hasted shift. my suggestion of the that you do an honest inventory. we can see what good it can be. look at where your gaps are. think of innovative ways of obtaining the resources. this is an overview. we can get into a lot more detail that i will leave that for now.
with that, i will turn it over. [applause] >> thank you for inviting me here. it is about 38 degrees. i thought it could be helpful as the administrator for planning to give you a strategic you cm whites -- a cm whats -- of what cms will be driving the system to do. we have three games. one is better care for individuals their health care to reducing costs through improvement. many of the speakers have already talked about their
success in achieving many of these goals. we know the system can achieve the goals. we see a significant variants. what is causing it? the way we have reimbursed the system has created a culture in the delivery system that is that counter opposition to what we are trying to accomplish. we take this responsibility and we realign how they will operate in the future. we cannot as the system to reform if we cannot do it ourselves. we realize the excellence and operations is how we relate to the system in the future and how we ensure our organizational alignment with organizations that are organically a line to
helping us achieve it. it should go to the organizations. the patient delivery system and our community halt efforts have to be integrated with agencies that are focused on these particular areas. within the business environment, one of my roles is to reorient the business environment toward this new delivery system. we do not want to do prescriptive policy. we would rather be -- we would rather do descriptive policy. we want to be able to expose the performance of the delivery system and look for opportunities.
then of course public information. more and permission about how the delivery system works. they are investing in the future. if you want to boil it down, we see it produces a cigna began amounts of unjustified variants and patient safety. we the get these lies. he can see where it is. we are beginning to see into the system where it is. over time, we are going to be tracking it and driving it into a delivery system. these are on the top levels of where we see significant cost
versus the national average versus the best practices. we can get the difference by areas or whether it is miami or louisiana or texas. there is a relationship between the cost and quality that we see. if you look at all of the red, it begins to break down where we are seeing the best practices. our goal is to work with the delivery system and not regulate its to move it from being red to green. we can move it and its use best practices more quickly. it is our goal to have measurable improvement in ^ that is felt by our beneficiaries.
it will reduce cost because the system will continually improve. community health will become part of what the delivery system is concerned about. we believe there will be a longitudinal relationship. the system will allow a smooth flow of transition between commercial health coverage to medicaid and eventually into medicare. our goal is to create incentives that make the system organically aligned. it with a look at this as an evolutionary process, -- if we look at this as an evolutionary process, it is episodic and non- integrated. the system doug -- does what it is paid to do.
there is no consequences for not coordinating care. we want to move it to accountable care. out there is this integrated health system of vision that we have. it is patient centered and uses the technology is to create a greater engagement between patients and physicians and their health care team. it sees a patient longitude elite. it rewards the risk for innovation. that is the basic molecule of a patient centered system and informed and activated patient, a prepared exchange with a team. we have to provide tools that help them raise their health literacy ends more accuracy engaged in their management. we have to have clinical teams
that have the electronic put records and the ability to exchange that information. there has to be a common place by the patient and physician have a common set of information that they are both acting on. to do this, we believe we have to bring the pressure several parks -- several strategies. one is the electronic health records and what we are doing in investing. service delivery redesigned investment to our innovation center, which will be investing in helping the delivery system five redesign itself. quality and cost reporting transparency. of the patients -- the payment reform. payment reform going from 8 feet per service transactional based system to more shared savings,
bundled payments, value-pace payments to allow the system to invest in what it knows will work. to create a delivery system that has accountable care and medical integrated with a comment organically alliant goal -- allied goal to achieve the highest value result for that patient. the expiration of -- that patient will be engaged in the system over time. this is our management focus. we will be coming out with regulations in the near future. the diffusion of medical homes as a foundational organizational delivery system model that we will build an ovation on. we cannot do it on a fragmented system carry we have to have
accountable care organizations. ar specific focus in to douse 11 will be to reduce readmission rate -- our specific focus into dell's 11 will be to reduce readmission rates. as well as to begin to purchase services based on value, which means quality and cost will be to factors and which we purchase services. we're already starting that. we will be moving back into the delivery system. if there is a way to describe what's an organization -- beneficiary, patient focus. when the person is not a patient, they are still part of the thinking of the delivery system. they're thinking about the family, the social environment, the about the public health environment. moving to address those upstream
issues. when the beneficiary becomes a patient, the system is very patient centered. it is focused on how to improve the care and innovate around the patient experience and the care management. organized to manage care processes across the continuum of care, using the effective use of technology. unless we do something in the delivery system to great accountable organizations, which will fail in most cases to move physicians and hospitals to adopt electronic help records. the aco is a strategy to create a market and the reason why physicians will want to accommodate electric help records. they will realize to be a part of an accountable care organization, they will need to know how to meaningful the use
that tool. if we are good at this, i results will be improved care coordination. we will be sharing and learning from each other. patient activation, raising literacy of our consumers, and efficient delivery and elimination of waste and reduction in cost to continuous improvement. if we are successful, less of a regulatory environment and health care. a free cup of these organically alliance systems to do what is best for the patient. it is going to be our goal to not dictate with the structure should be. we know there will be hospitals, organize it -- organizations, and physician that will have staff models and provider networks. they will have a number of
providers coming together in a loosely affiliated organization, all centered a round but we expect the aco to do -- govern and lead. if we look at the medical home, but we see a maturing process that is necessary. it is an important part of this strategy. we know we have to move it from being just a primary care or a specialist provider. it has basic electronic help information technology. or the ability to manage the individual patient episode to a medical home 2.0 which has patient registry information, the greatest patient access and communication to electronic exchange, is connected into the public health and bio surveillance system that has
enhanced ability to report on a two weight basis. there is a two-way quality of reporting so that we can provide information on opportunities to improve quality. the medical home 3.0, which is fully capable, has advanced care management. has agreed to participate in the community transitional research as part of a broader are virtual community. is connected to to meditate resources. can make referrals that have patience learning centers that patients be, and learn for themselves. it has a resource for they can go online to get materials that helps them raise their health literacy. helps to be part of the community. finally, integrated into optical
systems. is able to do biometric monitoring of individuals so that we can keep them from being institutionalized this is our vision and where you will see our innovation investment. our free particles and the means to achieve this -- are 3- particles is the transformation -- that includes our payment models, the service delivery contacting, our performance management, etc., the delivery system transformation that is going to to this common goal. finally, not because it is low priority, of bringing the patient into the center of this effort to, this is what we're going to be focused on a. -- focused on. i hope we will have a good dialogue. thank you. [applause]
>> thank you. those were wonderful presentations and i know we all thank the speakers. we wanted to give ourselves a sufficient amount of time so that we could take questions from the audience. i hope there are a number of questions that you folks will have. i think you should be able to come to the microphone and asked your questions. i will ask a question of the panelists first. one thing that i do want to emphasize is i am going to ask that they keep their responses short. if we can do it, and answer a minutes each, i think there is going to be a real interest in a lot of questions.
let's try it and be will be quick on the answers. here is the first question. a recent leak came across a " in a book -- this is what it is. we have a hard time savings as they are. because we can never get what they were out of our heads. we do not see the problems that exist, of the shadow of the last one. many commentators and many people that i talk with, my partners, my clients, they're talking about and comparing this reform effort to reform efforts of the 1990's. to the efforts of managed-care event i believe it -- it was very fair to say that the managed care organizations did not managed care.
what is different this time? why is it going to work this time? that is the question. i am going to ask tony rogers to respond first. on behalf of the government. maybe we can run down very quickly. >> i was lucky enough to be part of that managed care backlash in the 1990's. i can only tell you a conversation i had with a ceo of a very large health management and i have said -- i was saying that we have become adversaries to physicians and the people that provide the service. we were focused on reducing cost and not looking at the bigger picture. he said, it is not our problem. it is the physicians problem. what is different this time? we know we need to bring the physicians, hospitals, at the delivery system into the process. the solutions do not come from
washington. they come from you. we're trying to create an environment in which you can provide solutions to your community. this is the problem. we know that you know what the problem is. we have to provide you with an environment where you can work out these problems and a delivery system that is in line in doing that. that is what i think is different. >> the global economy today is not what it was back then. we are trying to compete globally and there is pressure there on the business environment. ceos in america are very engaged in this dialogue today. that is part of it. levels of sophistication of information that is available is starting to plant evidence out there that is irrefutable. >> i would agree with that.
in 1983, it was just hospitals. what is different now is that we do have a vision for where the health delivery system needs to go. the physicians being engaged is a critical parts and the decision support -- we have different tools and techniques available to us that we did not have in 1993 or 1983. it is clear that transformation is coming. >> i would say that i would agree with all the things that have been said. there is one similarity that i'm very concerned about. we have not talked about the recipients of health care. the thing that is probably going to bankrupt the health care system and the united states right now is the epidemic of
obesity. it now accounts for 10% of the health care costs in the united states and is projected to go to 20%. until then began -- both of the plans have neglected the recipient of health care trade until we bring the men with incentives that lead them in the same direction -- until we bring them and with incentives. >> i would ask that you identify yourself. >> i am a physician in new orleans. a couple of questions. patient accountability was not included any of those diagrams. that somehow has to be built into the equation. as a practicing physician, noncompliance is -- can throw away all of your accountability out the window. what is the government's
opinion about that issue? the other issue is when i see your medical home model, i can tell you that our group is at 1.5. we already do a lot of i.t. and tracking for the largest geriatric population. however, we only come to see those patients in one isolated and countertrade -- isolated. in their interest in promoting this new way of doing business, are they keeping up with upgrading their method of paying physicians for services? this is what we are talking about. shifting away from patient and counter to this management process.
interacting through the internet's and where we in code for that. >> gobs tony, i think you should take that one. >> i think your first question was about how you get compliance. there are two ways to get compliance. >> you have to create a different relationship. we have to then honor that choice by helping to that position become the medical home for the patient. that means pain care management fees. we have already begun rolling out some initiatives in that. between the visits, the
physician has the responsibility -- the medical home as the responsibility to provide the care management. when the position is not involved in the care management, care management is not optimized. position, a nurse practitioner, a medical team in need to be part of the care manager process great the need to be engaged with the patient. they need the financing to be able to do so. in terms of the patients compliance, this is always a struggle. we are looking at beneficiary incentive programs. our hope is that the medical home environment will engage the patient around the patient's issues, and around their barriers, not around a standardized of view.
but every patient has the story, has a journey. we want to give the providers less ability to manage that journey to the benefit of a patient. that requires electronic health information. for the position to be able to -- for the physician to be able to see whether the patient is getting care or not, we will be providing those organizations with the information. this is the first time that we will lead locked -- electronically share information with organizations that come together and said, i will help manage care for this patient. >> i am a professor of health care management. with the growth of acos, to lawless lag behind?
-- do the laws lags behind? of a pullback on that, i trust that laws are rescinded in terms of their utilization, does that cause the potential for additional market power in the system? >> good question. i cannot talk about the specifics. we have been working with the department of justice and with the ftc about anticompetitive safe harbors that will be necessary. under what conditions and what parameters that needs to be set. the goal is that as much as possible, there should be competition. there should not be a single source of accountable care in the community. to do that, the department of justice and the ftc are looking for how they form and will be evaluating them as they submit
their applications based on the potential for anti-competitive behavior. we are working with them. the good part is that there will be opportunities for the community to comments. because we are working with the department of justice and the ftc in a very collaborative way and with the irs, it is going to make it easier for us to communicate when there is issues that we need to reconcile. the interesting saying is the commitment of those organizations to making this work. the recognition that this is necessary and they are not fighting it. they just want to make it work for everybody.
>> in other words, an organization does not have to lead to a the kind of centralization that some are worried about. i think if it does lead that way, i cannot imagine what the department of justice and the federal trade commission would prosecute those cases vigorously. i am from ohio. up in toledo, the ftc and the ohio attorney general are looking very closely at a hospital right now. these folks are going to look at these issues. we have to be very aware of these issues. the vertical integration that we are looking at here should not necessarily raise that specter. i also would make the point that at the open door 4 m -- forum that was held in october, there was quite a bit of discussion about whether there
would be an anti trust safe harbor. there was a lot of discussion by folks from the government and others that the principles of clinical integration that the ftc has put forth the number of business advisory letters probably make a pretty good starting point for antitrust compliance with the accountable care organizations. if you look at what the ftc has put out since to dozen to, predicted as a tomb -- 2002, there is a lot about it. remember that at least for the demonstration, the secretary of health and human services has the ability to waive some of the applications of those laws and regulations if she deems it appropriate to do so. that is going to be something that we will find out how that all works out.
i'm a pediatrician at the university of miami medical campus. thank you. i can believe and excited about the transformation that we will see improvements in medical care. what i do not see happening necessarily is that we are going to transform population health. if we do not change help, we will not rein in costs. i am grateful that the third bullet is population health. it is still the third bullet. in your list about comes, it does not really less any think that would be considered a population health outcome. when everybody else outside of government starts thinking about population health, it will be very important to know how we define that.
if the population, what my insurance plan covers, the folks that are able to walk through my practice door. will it be a geographic population? huckabee compensate for the -- how do we compensate? i am very interested in your comments about how we change the dynamic. the incentives right now -- i do not see them lined up to tackle that. >> would you to like to take a shot at that? >> i should to some of the examples in terms of population health. i think we have shown the same sort of thing around both obesity and smoking. those of the two big issues, i think. acting as an employer and a
provider, we have a big stake in that. it is also going to take both carrots and sticks to begin to have some impetus, some impact on population in terms of improving health. i do not think we will do one without the other. >> i did not think any one health care delivery system can tackle the entire state population. that first up is critical. we anticipate multiple markets. if they promote wellness, and they stop smoking, i think you take the steps. we will start in those
populations. >> have a responsibility. >> if i could just add a comment. to do population health, you need ingredients. one is the flow of information. until recently, there was not good flow of information across the different aspects of the system. you have to have that in place. if you look in the various pieces, the ingredients are being developed. there is a lot of pieces and place. as they mature, they will make it much easier. >> to tell you what our strategy is, if you look at the communities, -- canada is formed around a grant that was given -- how to use the information
technology to have a broader impact on population. organizing beyond around -- organizing around communities. because there was a market to -- we ask them, what do you need from us? they said, we need information. that is what we are providing. we need to coordinate with our federal agencies. the problem has been, you cannot do this with a four-person practice. you cannot do it with a clinic. been it is a model. if you look at that and you see that model, we are using that as
a starting point. it will be our goal to reduce the number of heart attacks and heart disease in the population. we are formulating a strategy to do that. how we will use these developing organizations to be part of this. >> go-ahead. >> the american health-care recipients undoubtedly is the beneficiary of the world's finest technological infrastructure. all too often, that infrastructure is not used to create equality by the practitioner. behind behavior interventions, destructive technologies, chemicals -- county schools succeed without structural changes -- town of the goals succeed without structural
changes? for example, by medical malpractice. >> why don't we start with you, doctor? >> towards reform clearly was -- tort reform was the third rail. it was not touched. you had a group of legislators that you had to deal with. it was a non starter from the get go. the rationale for that is that this is a relatively small percentage of the health care cost across the country, probably accounting for less than 3%. but the legislation was trying to do is go after bigger fish and get something that legislatively was going to get through congress.
eventually, that is going to have to be one more incremental step. it is not an essential step for the things that we talked about. >> back when the legislation was being written, there was a lot of dialogue to the constituencies and when you get to the subject of evidence based medicine, clinical guidelines, there was a discussion about a quid pro quo of there. there is some agreement to move toward that direction, would there be some kind of the reform? that did not get there. i do not think he will have as much success with the latter i must you fix the former. there has been discussion.
>> you know, this is such a hot- button issue. you can argue it from both sides. physicians to practice -- the practice and a delivery system seem to have less liabilities. electronic health records reduce its liability if it is coordinated. it will help to reduce liability. we know that best practice drives those things down. at some point, accountable care organizations and medical homes will be organized in a way that we can then have an organized discussion about how we address any additional liabilities that need to be addressed.
either through the aco or through other means. to the patient, to the consumer, the reason this is a hot-button issue is that they think they will lose something. until that changes, until there is a trust, it will be hard to address this as legislation. >> thank you. >> i am a family physician. my question has to do with primary care. i think we are engaging to go into battle and we forgot to trained marines. what i mean by this is it takes a good 12-13 years to get a primary care physician that is fully trained. we are going to get a 36 million
people into the system. if you do the math, it means you will mean an emmy -- need 12,000-15,000 primary-care physicians courage where are they going to come from? if you go to any family medicine conference, he will see that most of them look like me and older. [laughter] already -- i have retired because i was driven out of business by medicare. what are you going to do about this shortage of physicians that would be critically worse in the next few months or years? >> i will make the first comet, ok? there is a lot of things that dr. do today that they do not need to do. that will not solve the problem,
but it will help. able allow you to do more. the cause >> there is some capacity to was worth a lot of this. you can change the incentives. the medical home model, the position is awarded for the health of his population as opposed to having to do something that fits a coach. he will create -- a code. you will see some physicians willing to shift into that. >> i agree. it has to find the need for more primary care. they will have different incentives in family medicine. primary care will be recognized. it uses a team approach, not his
physician. that team is critical. that is the way we will cover more americans. >> i would just add to that. we are also looking at a huge shortage of nurses. that is something around a million a shortage of nurses. as we change the care model, we will change to the providers are. right now, for example, in cardiac surgery, we have a physician assistants to help 13 car? surgeons. -- help card debt surgeons. -- cardiac surgeons. i think we will see the jobs migrates to the person who is able to do them and not to the most qualified or over qualified individual.
>> what i would like to do, if we could, we are in our last seven minutes or so. i'm apologetic that i did not think we will have any more time for any more questions. first, i want to thank the university of miami so much for allowing us the opportunity here today. to really have a good discussion. as the close, i am going to ask each of our panelists to give some final thoughts. what are the takeaways that each of them would like to provide to us? what i would ask is that we go in reverse order of presenters. tony, if you would start. >> i sense people are ready for a change. but there are a lot of
questions. a lot of still unanswered issues that will have to be addressed. what i tried to provide is a framework to date of where we see its drive the system. i do understand that we need to come out and work with communities, who work with organizations. one of the takeaways that will help me articulate this to our new center for innovation, their role in helping to prepare communities, organizations, to be successful in this new world of accountable care. in advance of moving the systems to regulation, in this direction. the other thing i will give you is that we are focused and aligned to transform the delivery system for america. that is where cms is putting the
efforts. we're bringing in people that will help us with that. we want to make it part of a think tank, if you well. -- if you will. >> i think i will get this quotation right. the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and excepting -- expecting the same result. that is what's we have done in health care. i do not know how many of you watched the president's address last night. enough is enough with the rhetoric. the system is broken. you cannot deny that. no matter what perspective you have, it is broken. competitively, we are leak -- losing ground despite the wonderful things that we do. each of you who is in a position
to influence, try to start the next conversation giving the other party the benefit of the doubt. >> the take away is that a solution is a partnership. we have talked about providers, insurers, the employers, are pension. it will take that partnership to transform the system. >> i would like to thank the university and john for convening a us and giving us the opportunity. i want to thank tawny for the work that he does. this is difficult controversial work. consider this an attaboy. that is sucking up, is dead? -- isn't it? at the end of the day, but or
partnership is correct. we have to get the incentives right for all parties involved. we have to get the incentives right for patients, for the physicians, providers, and as soon as we all lined the incentives, i think people of goodwill will provide the right solution. i think we are in a period of transition. i fully believe that we can and must come out with a better system than we have now that will address all of those peoples and individual groups. the key to that is getting the incentives correct. >> thank you very much. [applause]
host: caller: [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] back quite a few of mayors talk about federal budget cuts. douglas elmendorf talks about the economy. tomorrow, the governors' association hold meetings. they will hear from labor is and industry leaders about moving the economy and creating jobs. live coverage begins at 2:00 p.m.. >> beat are watching politics and public affairs.
weepies watch live coverage of the u.s. house -- weekdays, watch live coverage of the u.s. house people on the weekend piquancy a signature interview program. he can watch a program anytime at c-span.org. the u.s. conference of mayors is holding a leadership meeting this week. several mayors held a news conference today to talk about cuts to the community development program.
there are other rograms that are on the cutlist. we take exception to the comm unity devlopmentblock. t this was under president nixon. it comes directly to cities for nd ensure control adn ensur it is for people i need of ho using. it creats jobs not just forpeople within city hall but the priavatre sector and non-
po dcaast. host: our guest, mayors of oklahomaity and charlotte, north carolina. thanks to both of you for being here. >> very exciting. host: we have talked about the idea of unionizing what is going on with public employee unions. how does this play out in your community? guest: from the city government perspective, our expenses are personnel-driven. we don't fund a lot of social programs. if you are asking cities to tighten their belts, you're asking cities to cut expenses, if you are talking about salaries and benefits for police officers and firefighters or less of them perits are
decisive decisions the mayors have to make and they are no fun. guest: one of the first things i did when elected in 2009 was assemble a group of citizens to look at our budget. one of the things that they warned us about was over the next couple years our public safety plan was going to be a challenge. so we are working through those issues now. guy think that nick is right. salaries and benefits of a lion's share of how the property tax dollars are used in our area. we are paying careful attention. host: talking about the economy, other issues happening in your cities, a budget shortfalls. you can jo the conversation. numbers on your screen. mayor fox is a democrat. talk about unemployment.
guest: it is hovering over 10%. it's gone down a little over the last year-and-a-half or so. if we were hard-hit by the financial-services crisis. charlotte is the second-rgest banking center in the country. what also happened as a result of that is we really started looking more carefully at some of t other sectors that we have strength in, like energy and health care and other ones. what we are doing now to try to counteract the forces of unemployment is to strengthen and diversify our economy. we have duke energy which is involved in the accommodation that will create the largest energy utility in the country. that will drive sller companies in the supply chain. we feel like energy will be a great opportunity for our future. we have to integrate hospital systems in our area and we are trying to grow the health care sector. we are trying to create long- term jobs and it will not come overnight, but jobs that will stay around awhile.
host: 10% unemployment. oklahoma city has aifferent picture. unemployment is about 6% from december statistics. what is the situation? guest: we are fortunate to have the lowest and plummeted in the country. we have made great strides to diversify our economy. we were very energy-driven historically. we have diversified into aviation, bio-medical sector, as well as energy. it has really helped us to weather the recession from the previous years. our economy has been released from the for the past six or seven years. we have been very fortunate. we are doing the right thing. host: the biggest news that has come from your community is the fact of the democratic national convention will be there next year. what will the implications before? ? as we get past the story of how exciting is for opportunity to
snag a major convention, what are some of the challenges? guest: this will be the first major political convention in north carolina. the last one for the democratic party was 1860 when it was in charleston. it's been a little while. we feel like we are due for a convention. i think it marks the return of the democratic party to the soh. for us locally if it is a big economic development opportunities for us. it puts us on an international platform, not only as a city but as a state. the economic impact will likely be 150 million up to $200 million a year there's opportunity to expose the world to the great things north carolina has to offer. we think that it will be an opportunity that has ripple effects, many years down the road. in terms of the challenges, a i think that in this kind of economy, obviously, tampa and charlotte both will be working hard to raise the money to do
the convention. i think we will do fine there. other than that, i don't see any major challenges. host: our guests are in town right nows part of the u.s. conference of mayors meeting. join the conrsation. let's go to the democrat line calling from new jersey. caller: good morning. i would hate to be holding the bag with this economic situation because it trickle- down on you guys. the conversation prior and the discussion about unions, the multinational corporations that have all the power in this country right now, they have lobbyists, they have lawyers, ey have a legal system that works quite well for them, but all the working people if have are the unions. the only power that we have is in numbers. if you depend on any kind of paycheck, whether you are on social security or not, we are all in this together. hearing people from the private
sector going after people in the public sector, this is not going to help us. we have to join together to straighten this situation out, because otherwise we will be living on company dependence and purchasing our children's clothing from the company store. governor scott walker of wisconsin was going to become a thug on those peaceful people demonstrating with their children in strollers. he said that he thought about it, but felt that the political backlash would not work for him. this is despicable. he had a balanced budget when he came in there. this whole balanced budget thing is only one paragraph, three sentences that apply to the budget. the rest was giving no-bid offe to david koch and his brother to purchase their steel- thermal heating and cooling
facili. host: we will leave it there. guest: is the the situation in wisconsin is interting. rest of us around the country are watching to see what takes place there. my experience has been that we value our public safety, union officials in oklahoma city, we value our police and firefighters and believe they should be compensated. we think they are. the average firefighter in oklahoma city makes over $70,000 and police officers make $75,000. our cost of living is 90% of the national average. keep in mind itsosts the city $100,000 per officer when you start adding in the cost of the uniforms and other benefits to their retirement plans. is it? absolutely. a lot of times -- is its eighth priority?a
absolutely. when you get dowto the union leadership, it's a different story. we have had disappoinng results in oklahoma city when we have gone face-to-face with union leaders. guest: this union issue is part of the economic challenge we are facing. we would not have many of these difficult conversations if public budget are not being hit so hard. in north carolina, our school system has $100 million shortfall. you look at teacher layoffs and it is the same sort of dynamic. i think what behalf to keep working on is the other side of the letter, to make sure the economy starts pumping again. because that will start to increase public sector revenues. this is not going to be an easy year for anyone. i think this is going to be the toughest year for local government in probably 40 or 50 years because of the fact that there is less federal money, less state money, and things hit
the fan when they get down to the city level. host: union leaders have voiced concern about charlotte as a choice for the caps dnc convention because of non-union hotels, what is your response? guest: have said all along that a couple of things, number one, the democratic national convention is one that brings together all the constituencies in the democratic party, labour included. that is no secret. it is not a secret to us in north carolina. we would not be doing our due diligence if we did not reach out to labor and try to figure out ways to work with them as we have been trying to pull off this convention. you may be pleasantly surprised at our out reached. of zero who share our corporate
subsidies and corporate welfare. pension plans and health benefits for union workers and government workers whether they are in a union or not. is it just is economically unsustainable. i would suggest this is an opportunity to get out from under the thumb of political power of this privileged class called the unions. these folks are holding politicians hostage. they can now take this opportunity to say let's get real, economically, and cut these benefit back. more importantly, we want you when you retire to have benefits. right now, there is no way to
have benefits because the system will collapse. it is in your best interest. i want to hear about the political opportunity to change the privileges of the union workers. guest: i would say it is an uneven playing field. we would love to be able to negotiate with our unions on a level playing field. because of state law, it does seem like the unions are heavily supported by t arbitration system and what starts off as an honest conversation about negoations turns into a situation where we cannot ever seem to get a sustainable budget going forward. when your costs are personal- driven, you have to keep them down. we have not been able to
successfully get our union leaders to see the benefits of working with us and keep expenses down going forward. if your revenue is not able to keep up with the union demands for their benefits, we have to start cutting our parks department, our contributions to animal welfare and the streets, roads, and bridges. the cost of personnel is driving cities under we have to get better situation for our state government to be able to keep a handle on our personnel costs. host: when you entered office not long ago, there was almost a 13% unemployment rate in charlotte. how do you balance those things? guest: you have to be focused on who is the end user of our services. we do not haveny -- there is
no glory in cutting things that are going to ultimately impac our ability to respond to a fire or a crime situation or to put roads in place to help our economy grow. we have to stay focused on that. some of these discussions with the labor issues and things like that -- some places across the country are laying off police officers and firefighters. if it is compromising our ability as a public sector to actually do what we are assigned to do which is to protect the public, i think that is a real problem. i thi in some of these situations, we have to get to the table and work it out. host: our guests are here for the u.s. conference of mayors meeting. from oklahoma city, okla., mick
cornett spent 20 years in local television. he also serves as a trustee of the conference of mayors and serves on the advisory board and chairman of the urban economic policy committee. let's go to an independent caller in north carolina. good morning. caller: i appreciate the opportunity to speak for what i believe, probably the silent majority of the people in this country. most people in this country do not have anything to do with unions. they are the majority of the people in this country. the unions, yes, they did do a goodhing in the beginning.
like a lot of people, muammar gaddafi 41, have outlived their usefulness and have become simp trying to hang onto power. host: any response? guest: i do not think the unions have outlived their usefulness but we do need help from our legislators to negotiate honestly with our employees. we have to have a sustainable model going forward. other drastic cuts are going to have to be made. i would like a level playing field when i negotiate. guest: getting back to charlotte and are public safety pay plans, what we are doing is convening a group of our city staff and our police officers and we are saying, ok, here is the problem. in a couple years, our blic plan is going to get into a
train wreck situation. how do we work through this? we do not want to lay off police officers. we want to keep recruiting people into the system. we defined the problem and we started wking for the solution. but the dynamic has to change because the situation is different than it was two or three years ago. on the case by case basis, the issues will get worked through. host: what is the government doing to help or hurt job creation in your city? guest: great question. you know, we have a government sector, first of all. we have an aviation sector. there are in government jobs coming from the federal government. we do get grants. they are under the microscope and there could be significant cuts.
we also need some help going forward with internet sales tax. there is a main street fairness actnd which companies that sell products over the internet are currently not paying sales tax on those products. as more and more people spend their discretionaryollars on the internet, it is hurting local governments that rely on sales tax. you have practices trending away from revenue on the cit side. we are lookingor some help. host: what about the stimulus funding? guest: it went to the states and its traditionally did not get to the cities. that was disappointing. there was probably some job creation that trickled into the cities. largely, the inventory in the rural areas was addressed. the stimulus money did not get to the cities. host: what is the federal
government doing to help or hurt your community? guest: one-third of the money that was spent, $787 billion, was tax cuts. another third was aid to the states. i agree that we got a trickle of that money. finally, the other third went directly to citizens through title won support for schools, fo stamp assistance, and things like that. i think there was probably a significant amount of days setting back king -- amount of base that went to the citizens. i think, overall, the government has helped us sustain ourselves over the lt couple of years. with the recovery act dollars going away this year, that takes
a little bit of the veil off of the states. now the state's budgets are exposed. there are going to be local impacts. host: charlotte received about $1 million last year in stimulus funds compared to oklahoma city, $1.4 million. guest: that sounds about right. guest: thank you very much. [laughter] guest: we probably needed it. host: 10% unemployment rate versus 6.1% unemployment rate. caller: thank you, c-span, for allowing us to give our comments. i have one question and one comment. as far as the unions are concerned, and the democratic party is concerned, there was a union there.
whatever the unions needed, the democrats saw that legislature was pushethrough out the years, and they got it. the union's charge people es and took that money and backed the democrats. that cycle is about to be broken now. whereou take the state's the 14 democrats have walked out -- what happens wn the democrats take over, which they will? and the republicans walk out? how do you rectify that? what do you do? guest: i think it is important to keep in mind that governments can provide services not to provide jobs. -that is very important to remember. we went to our unions and try to
increase the size of our staff a year ago but it would never acquired some budget cuts on their side of the equation of about 2%. we could not get to the table with it. as a result, we wound up with fewer police officers and firefighters on the table. he would like to get some sort of reliable feedback -- you would like to get some sort of reliable feedback. host: let's move on and talk about foreclosures and some of the mortgage crisis issues. this came to our attention. whenhe democratic national convention goes to charlotte this year, --
this is coming to us from real- estate future foreclosure hotspot. guest: we have never as a community or as a state professed to be anything but a reflection of the country that we live and and the times that we live in. in many ways, charlotte will show itself to be an example of what is an incredibly bright with our country. the day before the dnc announced charlotte as the location, a group of philanthropists announced a grant to our school system to help the most chlenging part of our school system move forward. that is a tangible example of thtype of community that we live in. the foreclosure probl is an indicator of the and plua
problem. the peopleho are out of work who eventually lose the capacity to pay their mortgages -- it starts running on itself. so we know that is a challenge in our community. we are starting to see signs that the economy is coming back some. host: this story looks at foreclosures in oklahoma and says oklahoma city was ranked as -- guest: we have largely been unaffected by the housing cris. a there is a bottle of discretionary income because our salaries tend to be higher. housing prices are very low in lahoma city.
i think that what charlotte has dawned in going this incredible city i have had the good fortune of visiting, oklahoma city is starting to realize the secret of the workforce are attract to cities whe there is a high quality of life. if you are talking about job creation, it is because we have been able to attct that talent pool. host: this tweet -- guest: is a real challenge. it will largely do it through property taxes and pay it out over several years. we have 17,000 leads of road in the city that we are responsible for. guest: we are working every day to try to make sure we are preparing this community for
success. whether it is within the context of a workforce development or other things, we are trying to move forward. i think a lost sight of what your question was. hoswe do it through property tas primarily. we also have a little bit of a sales tax, 13% of our annual budget is sales tax revenue. as the mayor pointed out, for various reasons, revenues have be down. we are back to 2004 levels with their sales tax. guest: our property taxes are low but 51% of our income comes from sales tax. as a result, it can change the way you react to retail situations.
host: the mayor of charlotte, mayor foxx, also served as a councilman and was an attorney. you still are an attorney. to a democratic caller in florida joining us. hello. good morning. caller: i have a question. for either one of the mayors. why has jobs been such a depressing problem? for african-americans -- i do no like to say african americans. i like to say descendants of slaves. for these jobs, job creation, when they are created, wil there still be a depression problem for african-americans or
descendants of slaves to get a good job? because it has always been a depression problem. guest: i think the history of slavery and the history of oppression is still harming african americans here in 2011. it is very disappointing i think it is an education issue. if you look at education in african american communities, they seem to be lower than other minority groups. we are working hard to correct it. guest: it is a significant problem. if you look at the overall on income rate, and you match it against the african american on the, rate, the african american unemployment rate is significantly higher.
if you look at youth employment, kids below the age of 24, the unemployment rate in some areas for african arican youth is over 40% and sometimes 50%. so there are definitely some challenges. then you match that up against another fact which is that in some schools in our school system across the country, african american males are graduating at a 28% rate or a % rate. it does not take a rocket scientist to see long term there is going to be a real problem that it's worse than it is today if we do not do something. i think the mayor is exactly right, that education has to be a critical area of focus for our country. we all have to see the benefit of investing in education a restructuring education to be
child-centered. we as the mayors are talking about that all the time. in the short term, we have to fight to protect things like youth employment programs. we are going to be talking ler today about funding to help cities provide these kinds of opportunities for kids. so often, i am really worried that in the short term we may see a cavalcade of budget cuts that impact children that stays with us for more than 20 years if we are not careful. guest: i think the mayor is right. the graduation rates are not what they should be. we failed in that regard. host: reflect on the budget, the c.r. that was recently passed. guest: as far as funding, we get discretionary dollars out of
washington. the funds are things that mayors can designate in our communities where the needs are. if you start cutting those, you are going to start cutting into a lot of social programs that affect a lot of people that really need the help. a 60% and cut is way too much. we are willing to tighten our belt. the idea of cutting the funds drastically is a really bad decision. host: how is your voice heard in this debate? guest: it is my opinion that we will take some cuts. i have tried to communicate on the white house level and to congress there are otherays that they can help. i think the main street fairness act, taking the loophole involving sales tax on sales over the internet, is a way to not have a negative impact on the federal budget. host: what is your opinion of
the predent's proposed budget for the next fiscal year? guest: this is from the mayor's perspective, but i think we have to be less focused on the democratic and republican perspectives. this is really a pivotal moment in our country. there is less revenue in public coffers so we have to make careful choices. the choices cannot be just cut, cut, cut or spend, spend, spend. the economy has transitioned away from manufacturing. we have to get manufacturing jobs back here. we have to be exporting more goods and services out of this country. it nds to go back to the education, back to the infrastructure. i do not think those are
partisan issues. it is disappointing, quite frankly, that on some level, the president has laid out a very good case for the categories of spending that are important to the future of the country. i am hopeful that both houses of congress will be responsible. host: let's go to texas. welcome. caller: hey, nic how are you doing this morning? i am from okloma city. my daddy was a former oklahoma city policeman. i just wanted to talk about the unions a little bit. i am sure you remember back in e 1970's when the police went on strike. most of your policemen out there and work two jobs for many years and a lot of that had to do with the police were not paying
enough to be a middle-class family. that is why a lot of these guys went out and started working second jobs. i know the chief had a lot to do with revolutionizing the police partment, getting money in there, equipment. they bought all of their guns, uniforms, and everything else. guest: things have changed a lot. i remember back in 1970. i was in middle school at the time. we think police officers and firefighters should be well compensated, and we think they are. caller: good morning. i would like to address what the the new jersey caller said about teachers and vacations. my daughter is a teacher.
those teachers -- my daughter has never had a vacation. when she gets off from school, she works twor three jobs during the summer. during the wintertime, i would like to also address how my daughter does not have books to properly teach kids. e has to make copies. there are no copies in the school. that comes out of my daughter's pocket. i would like to also say how stores have discounts for teachers, thank god for them, because most teachers takout of their pockets for their most basic needs. it makes me angry. guest: i think this caller has made a critical point, which i that we talk about education in this country and then we hear stories about that, teachers
literally taking the shirts off eir back to get the jobs done in the classroom. there are some heroic teachers out there. even as we are talking about how we restructure education and so forth, i think a change we need to make as a country is valuing teaching again, and that is compensating teachers like professionals, holding them to professional standards. i think the caller is right on point. finland -- if you are a college graduate in finland, the top 10% of graduates want to go to teach because the teachers are treated as professionals in finland. in the united states, we are getting the bottom 25% going into teaching because it is something to do. we need competition in the teaching profession. guest: i am the son of a
teacher. i will say that as far as the dollars going into education, i think teachers unions have become part of the problem. i think a lot of the philanthropy coming into public education would be coming into larger amounts. i know we e talking a lot about the first steps. that is a good example of the symbolism that a lot of people are upset about. they want the best teachers and the worst teachers moving on to new occupations predicate caller: our independent line, good morning. caller: we are talking about budgets and tightening our belts. i have a brother who has worked as a township supervisor for 18 years. in that time, he has not taken one raise it. before we start going after unions, i think it is time that
the elected officials, be they legislators, governors, mayors, councilmen, congressman, the president, start talking about what kind of cuts they are going to take. i recently joined in on an e- mail. a congressman refused the medical provided for him. guest: i received a salary of $124,000 a year. we voted to cut that. those cuts did not take place. i do not necessarily think the people who work in congress are overpaid. they typically have two homes, one in the district and -- one in their district and one in washington, d.c.
i admire the people who are wiing to run for congress and served up here in washington. guest: i understand the callers sentiment. i have refused to pay increases inhe past. i think it is one of these times where we all have to be really careful to focus on the right kind of restructuring for the country. one of the things that we have to think about is not just ourselves but people who may follow us in these roles and in other parts of the country. we want to make sure there are people who come alg that are interested and are energized and capable of doing even a better job. guest: i do think week in oklahoma city we underpay our non-uniformed employees. we talk about our employees who i wish we had more money to pay
to finally get back in session and ultimately have a vote on this i assume that everyone is satisfied with their position. i have no idea what that means in terms of the final outcome. guest: it sounds like they could not go on as they were it sounds like they have been making concessions on both sides. caller: i am very happy to have this forum to speak. i have a few points that i wod like to touch on. in my opinion, this is an all- out classwork. there is a divide and conquer strategy taking place. you are taking firefighters and police and pitting them against teachers. this is going to trickle down until there is no one else.
we will end up being slaves again. people are calling in -- my last paycheck, i had $800 in taxes taken out. tax dollars that i pay for politicians. as a teacher, and still have to live on a budget. i wish people would add that to the conversation. we pay taxes. this country has a history of institutionalizing favoritism. this is never discussed. people do not realize the government has historically hired women and minorities that the public sector has excluded from those been used. now that the private sector -- there is a witch hunt for government workers. it is starting to dividing conquered.
guest: i encourage anyone who is not happy with the situation to start their own business. a foundation recently named best and most entrepreneurial city in the country. i would likeo think that is fuelling our job growth. as much as i agree with many of the callers this morning, i think fundamentally these are tough times. i think the last thini would say on the subject is that going forward, i think the union leadership is going to have to realize that we have to balance our budgets. every year, we have to balance our budget. if revenue is down, compensation and our expenses are going to have to go down as well. i do agree that we are having a disappearing middle class. i think that is regrettable. i think we need to protect the middle-class.
guest: i think one of the really difficult question for everybody who is in an elected office right now -- what do you keep? what do you keep on the table? what is critical? what has to be done to get the country moving forward? i am not so short it is as much of an issue of class warfare as much as it is different views of what it meant to cut somhing out of government. whether you are talking about a youth employment program, that may be critical to a young person for an opportunity, but for someone else, it may not be as critical. as a country, we have some reckoning to do on this issue of education and how we are treating our young people right now. i think from my vantage point, the things that are critical and
are making sure we are making critical investments i education. that is the only way our economy is going to regenerate itself over the next 20 years. if we reduce expenditures and leave the structure of education exactly as it is, we are going to be stuck in neutral as a country. host: thank you for being here today.
what's going on. now last spring, when the problems in greece and elsewhere in europe were coming to a boil, one of the topics on our june meeting of our panel of economic advisors was the situation in europe and how it might spill over to the united states. and we had guests speak about that. and one of the things we wanted to hear about was the financial entanglements. part of the discussion was how vulnerable are you as financial institutions to mortgage markets or government debt market ins europe. and second darely, how much were u.s. institutions entangled with foreign institutions who were themselves tangled up in foreign markets? so i think we brought in the right people and took them onboard and we said the risk was not through a trade balance.
it was through the interconnections of the financial system. that point was novel to us at the time but we tried focus hard on that. it's been hard to quantify. not that the advisors said here's the missing number or adjustment you need to make. and i think it will be harder still when it isn't necessarily an event that's in the headlines and in the newspapers, but something more subtle going on. so we are appropriately chastened by that experience, and we have at least a general sense of things we should be watching. especially closely. but i don't want to leave the impression that now we've got that figured out. and now the forecast is going to be right, because i can't make that claim. yes? >> just wondering what weight you might be giving in your analyses to the fiscal problems of the state level now going on.
>> so we do give that some weight. again, i don't know any quantify indication of it. state and local government behavior is important in our modeling and in our forecast. i think as a general matter, you know the states and localities are in a tough spot now. they also have longer-term budget issues. we are working on an analysis of their pension situations. more focused on what's happening in the near term. it plays a role, but i don't have a way off hand to tell you how importants the. >> congress passed a law by date-certain, say 2020 they are required to balance the budget. what are your thoughts about that? >> i think i would have to see what that law said.
[laughter] >> i mean, what needs -- as you understand. we need to make choices about what changes in tax and spending policy one might make to achieve any given deficit or debt target. and i think it's those sorts of policy choices that we are set out to try to analyze and that we would try to analyze. just sort of commandments that thoushalt achieve certain things, i don't really know how that would play out from our point of view. >> what happens if the coventing resolution isn't resolved by march 4? what is the impact of that? i think that depends partly on what the government actually continues to do and does not
continue to do during a shutdown. and there are a lot of people i think around the government who are wrestling with that question now. it depends partly on how long the shutdown goes for and in the wake of the shutdown, if people are paid for work they did or didn't do during that period versus if they are not paid for work they did or didn't do during that period. that would affect the economic imply kegs. so i don't have nor would it be possible to estimate the shutdown. somebody told me some interesting work. looking at the past or what happened in the mid 1990's. but i don't know thal results. yes? >> the c.b.o. said the effect of -- shipped towards services
and the high proportion of gdgd. how -- g.d.p., how that might affect -- going out 75 years like c.b.o. does. >> so we do give that some thought. people know we doal projections that go out 75 years. we try not to draw undue attention to them. because we understand the greater uncertainty. social security is traditionally analyzed to that perspective and we think it's appropriate to provide some general sense of where it's headed. since an awful lot is happening in the next 25 years or first 25 years after the decade, we find sufficient interest in congress really focusing on that. even during that period. shifts in the economy can
happen and matter. but we think balances, that consideration and the -- and a whole slew of other considerations. but it's hard to know. and i think it's, un, health care in particular, the health care system is undergoing very dramatic changes. i think a universal view is everything will be different than it was. whether that difference leads to an increase in productivity, i read that as a temporary surge of level in sustaining or growth level over a longer period, i think it's beyond our ability to really judge. but i think it's going to be
wonderfully -- a wonderfully interesting period to watch. one more question. pete? >> embarking on a long series of hearings, are you doing any special analyses in support of that? and can you talk generally about the cost and benefits of tax reform? >> so we participated in one of the committee hearings. i don't talk about work that we have under way for the congress. as a general matter, nothing that will surprise you, pete. if one wants to raise more revenue from the tax system, which at least a number of people do,s the especially important to try to do so in a tax systems that more efficient rather than ones that less efficient. and a lot of analystsfor a long time stupt view a tax code that had a broader base and lower rates would be more efficient
than our current tax system, and in fact that could be done in a way that would address a number of sort of distributional objectives about who bears the burden of a tax system. but of course, there's a reason why the activity to broad at any base and thorough rates don't happen very often, ands that because provisions are of benefit to somebody, and the assertion that well, don't worry, it will all be more efficient in the end, isn't always very comforting, and that's the choice congress needs wrestle with. i think from my conversations with members, there's a great deal of interest on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the hill in redesigning our tax system. and as some people have noticed it's hardly even a system right now given how much ofs the on a -- given how much of it is on a
candidate and arkansas governor mike huckabee. followed by today's washington journal live with your phone calls. >> with demongs recess and a march 4 decline for funding the government, see what was said about h.r. one. spread over four days and the spire debate is online at c-span's congressional chronicle with complete time lines and transcripts of every session. at c-span.org/congress. sunday on c-span's road to the white house, former white house candidate and governor mike huckabee shares his thoughts on president obama, and his possible run in the 2012 election as the g.o.p. begins to take shape, watch the road to the white house at 6:30 p.m. and:30 p.m. eastern and pacific.
>> interior secretary ken salazar outlined president obama's strategy called america's great outdoors initiative. thursday. in washington, d.c. the plan calls for creation of new urban green spaces a and a new focus on cleaning up the rivers and water ways. this is an hour. >> good morning, everybody. i'm john. i want to thank you for joining us. it's a true pleasure for me to welcome and introduce a good friend of mine, ken salazar. and doug brinkly. special thanks to both of you for being here to participate in what i think will be a thoughtful and interesting discussion. we set this 4 up as a kind of q & a so we can really get into
the meat of the great outdoors and the great initiative of the secretary and obama administration to conserve our public lands and waters including full funding for water and land conservation fund and but we're all going to support that so your new initiative can be brought to frew wigs and this is the start of the public lands program we're doing here at the center for american progress. under our denver rep for our center for american progress. we fulfill some colorado roots, mr. secretary. the great outdoors has been a central part of our national character. from the beginning land played a central role until our founding. it sthaped vision and philosophy of our founding fathers and laws they crafted to fwonch the nation.
they built a powerful national economy unmatched by our natural resources and the unmatched american character. of course after centuries of development our growth began to threaten the very lands around waters that made our expansion possible. so senator theodore roosevelt started a tradition followed by every president there after the setting aside of the most natural to be protected in a way that preserves them for future generations. ads president roosevelt it's not what we have that will make us a great nation. it's how we use it. i was fortunate enough to serve under a great environmental president, the only one that i think actually grew up in a national park. he used to remind me of that all the time. and he took that to hart. president clinton recognized that our natural waters and lands were -- he worked with
the vice president, bruce bab bit. mike domback and many others. hal protected more land in the lower 48 states than any over president before him including five new national parks in and 19 new national monments. i think he took care to protect existing public labbeds as well. he adopted a rule to protect road less forests that dramatically slode the development of over 60 million acres of national forest and an achievement that the subsequent administration did all it could to try to screw up. but although they tried mightly. i think the heart that rules preserved under the secretary's leadership will move forward. i think those of us that served in that administration tried to focus, doug, on what teddy roosevelt called the long look ahead. and i think secretary salazar in the work that he is doing in the department exemplifies that spirit.
president clinton was also one that made the case that environmental protection supports an enhances our economic goals as a country and argued that protecting the public health and safety doesn't come at the expense and that companies cannot thrive without the food we eat and air we breathe. when it comes to a healthy environment, i think the president got it right and believes we can and must have both. and the notion that environmental protection can further our economic interests is clearer today than ever before. it's particularly tew when it comes to protecting our public lands. millions of the people visit the nation's parks and reserves every year generating tens of billions of dollars of revenue and supporting hundreds of thousands of rec creation and torturism jobs and every park generates -- the emotional and spirit actual value of our
public lands for this generation and for generations to come can't be measured. it just exceeds any capacity to measure how we feel about today's public spaces. the vast majority of americans recognize these benefits and believe the treasured lands and waters should be protected but with so much at stake the government often has opinions and sometimes disagreements on how public lands are protected and used. when i served in the government we sometimes learned that the hard way which is why i think it's cell and important that under secretary salazar's leadership the obama administration is taking a careful approach. the administration held 51 listening sessions across the nation to determine local communities' needs and priorities. the response has been enormous. 10,000 americans participated
in live sessions and some are here today and submitted 100,000 comments overall. those comments will be used to contract an agenda that speaks to states and reconnects americans with the outdoor places and traditions that made our country and still makes our country great. i'm sure our speakers have far more to say about the great outdoors and the initiative of the administration so let me turn the floor over to them. first it's my pleasure to introduce interior secretary ken salazar. he was namsly confirmed as secretary of the interior in 2009. prior to his confirmation ken salazar served as a united states senator where he led efforts to create and implement a vision for our economy. secretary salazar also served as the colorado of natural resources and environmental
lawyer and as a result i think he's been a true champion of farmers, of ranchers, of rural communities and of the natural environment. he's very well steeped in lands and policy and we're incredibly honored and pleased that he was willing to be here today to speak about his vision for how to move the initiative forward. we're also quite forward to have doug brinkly cuts the the great outdoors initiative and the role it might play in the obama conservation legacy and recognized as one of the best hoirn of his generation. and on on topics raging from 20th century presidents to war to conservation to the media, his new book. the latest book he has scaled best-seller lists when it won the national outdoor book award and he's authored dozens of other works.
he's a tenure of history at rice university ads well as a fellow at the dolph briscoe center for american history. welcome. i'm going to turn the event over to you. doug, please join us at the front. [applause] >> well, good morning. thank you-all for coming. great to be with you, mr. secretary. and i wanted to start. what we're going to do is go for about half an hour, i'm going to ask questions and then we're going to be collecting the cards for 15 minutes from people jurenledists. we will try to get to as many as we can. but let's begin with the great outdoors. what is is it and how did it get put together and what is it going to tell us about president obama's view of conservation? >> well, doug, what we have
done over the past few years is work with the president on the agenda and we already have things i am proud of. the passage and signature of one of the first bills in this congress was the 2009 omnibus lands bill which created 2 million acres of wilderness and 2,000 miles of scene i can river and three new national parks. that was the down payment. from that we have been doing a lot of things from the every glades to the conservation area in kansas. but it was our view that if we were going to have a sustained conservation agenda, we needed to go out and tons american public and so the american great outdoors listening sessions led by will and tom psychiatricland and so many other people all over the country listened to people all over the united states. given the realities of today, and in 2010, 2011. what have should we be doing
for skenchings? it's different from when teddy roosevelt declared large plots of the american continent, the american west as areas to be preserved. we're dealing with a new reality and population, so the america's great outdoors report moves forward under the skefpks area of this president. >> who did you talk to across america to bring together this report? >> it was an incredible assembly of people. some of who are here today. but it was ranchers and farmers, and hunters and anglers, mayors and governors. just everybody who cares about the outdoords. and i think what i ended up finding out is that there is a much broader coalition of people. this is really a ewanty ajencheda that supports conservation. there are yes, for sure democrats but also republicans who understand that
conservation is a way that protects the economic vy talentty of communities across the country and recognizes there's about 6.5 million jobs a year created from outdoor rec creation. so it's a great coalition of people we listened to across the country. >> a lot of times you hear from ranchers, in particular, but also people dealing with natural gas deals or mineral rights that somehow the federal government is continuing to lock up the lands, that the obama administration's policy is the lockup policy, how do you respond to that? >> i think it's absolutely not true. we continue to look at the public estates that about 30% of the land mass of the united states of america, which we manage with the united states department of agriculture. and we use those public lands for a lot of different things. so when you look at, for
example, the oil and gas development on the public lands, about 40 million acres that are being used -- but at the same time when we look at the willederness, we believe it's important to protect those lands as well. if you do a quantitative comparison, less than 9% of all the lands are in wilderness status and being protected. everything else is open to a lot of other different kinds of things. so what we're trying to do is strike the right balance and we believe under the authority that i have as secretary of the interior that protecting the -- is a responsibility that i have and something that we have the authority to do. >> as an historian, i want to ask you what other secretaries have you gotten inspiration from? i'll name two. stuart yoo call.
did you know stuart udall personally and did you learn anything from him? >> doug, when you delivered book wilderness warrior, we had a discussion about who inspired me and udall was certainly one of those people who inspired me. certainly the last trip to washington to watch his son be sworn in as u.s. senator for mexico, he sat with me for half an hour and gave me a road map of things he thought he did not quite get done during the storied tenure he did not get done in the 1960's as secretary of the interior. so he's somebody that i believe did a lot and somebody to be -- to follow. secretary babbitt as john was saying in his introduction under clinton administration, sometimes history has an interesting -- you know more about that than i do but i think history will look back from 1999 and 2000 and start looking at some of the matters
that were taken on by he and babbitt and most to make sure we were taking on a conservation ethic that will have a legacy for 100 years or 150 years down the road. so babbitt and udall were good friends and are still good friends. so i look up to them. >> both udall and babbitt were great supporters of the act of 1906 the ability to create national monments that theodore roosevelt established. i've read a little bit of press action coming out of the tea party movement. are you willing to embrace and make sure that the antiquities act stays on the books and make sure there's not an overturning of it? >> i think absolutely. when you look at over 100 years of exercised authority, president obama and this administration are not going to
be in a position where they want to give up that authority. having said that, i do think that one of the things we are doing so differently under the american great outdoors is we are listening to what communitiesen want us to do. one of the chapped chanters was in the report, we will reach out to the american public to listen to communities across the united states to find out which of those areas they believe are the ones that appropriate for monument designation under the antiquities act. and of course we hear where there's a ewanty of wanting to have these very special placesal protected. >> one of the places i'd like to see is the north woods of maine. of course you have to get a congressman to go along. but i was wondering, do you get frustrated at all? i know you've been to pelican where fish and wile live was
sort of born and there's these board walks of all these wildlife refugees and you look at all the things clinton and babbitt were able to decide. do you get frustrated and the fact that so much has already been saved, you won't be able to create a trophy lois that some of those priest presidents did? >> for me fringely it's not about creating a trophy list, but i am, doug, very excited about whats the that we can do. i'll give you an example of two national wildlife refugees we have created. one is where the last remaining of the tall grass remaining will now go into a national program. when i went to the meeting where we actually dedicated the flint hills national conservation area, sat around the table with about 30 of the stake holders that helped us in the creation of the flint
himself conservation area, and yes, it included traditional conservation eorganizations. but it also included the kansas livestock association and cattlemen's association and so on and so forth. so there was a recognition in tchans this was good for the economy, preserving the ranching heritage and for preserving the environmental value. we did the same thing with the head waters of the everglades where we have a new national wildlife refuge we're creating there and really today it represents the single most successful world heritage ecosystem rest ration program on the entire planet. and we have lots of other ideas that we are moving with in an agenda i'm very proud of. so i'm very excited about the opportunities to do some things in zheambings have not been done. there's one aspect to it that i
think is perhaps most important than ever before that's that we connect up the landscapes. because what's happened historically with the public domain as well as with the private assets is they've been checkerboarded. so we want to work in connection with the landowners to connect up the these landscapes for wildlife and other ecological values to that allows us to manage the landscape as a whole as -- instead of in a checkerboard way. >> where concretely can we create a wildlife corridor? where in the united states can this happen? >> i think it can happen everywhere. because we have wildlife and fish and important ecological values in every single state and every single community of our country. and i think it's just a matter of a willingness of local
communities and a partnership in some cases with the united states government and in some places where we can provide financial incentives where people can come together to create the connectivity. if i may, just is say a quick word about america's great outdoors and at least the way i see it through my eyes. i think there's four essential elements to it. first, we want to create the nextgen ration of great parks that will take us to the mississippi and to the dread scott courthouse, and places like a san francisco delta. so that is one outcome. the second, how we connect up these rural landscapes and the flint hills conservation areas is one and the everglades is another and there are many others around the country. the third is rivers. i think we need to put a new
focus on rivers, urban rivers and other rivers to make sure we are taking care of these places where for the first 300 years of european civilization in this country people turned their backs to rivers and they became the waste lands and places to dump industrial and other waste and in the last 30 years we're turning our faces to them and embracing those rivers as economic generators as well as where we do environmental rest ration and the other thing that's important is the connection to youth and our efforts across the board to connect up with young people. >> the administration has talked about a youth conservation core. the u.s. fish and wildlife climate core. how are you specifically in interior going to get more young people engaged in what some think is a nature deficiency disorder? how do we get young people
engaged with their national parks and monments and wildlife refugees. >> first in the department within the last year we now have 21,000 young people who are working with us as part of our corps effort as and were not working with the department of the interior until we took on this initiative. but they are helping us on behalf of the american people and two we are creating the nextgen ration of conservation leaders. so i'm very proud of that. and there are other agencies within the federal government that are helping us do that. second, we have a great opportunity, because we get so many people who come and see the special places we have. where our glaciers national park where our glaciers are disappearing or whether it's ellis island that tells the great story of our statue of liberty. so as custodiens of american's
heritage to educate young people about our country is a phenomenal opportunity. so secretary arnie duncan has been working closely with fish and wildlife service and john jarvis from the national park service where we can integrate the educational opportunities that we have in interior with our school system. >> are you worried about melting glashers? i was up in the bay in alaska where in 1879 and 1880 and a lot of the glashers are not just reseeding but disappearing up there. have you looked into climate change and why so much of this 4 frozen alaska's melting? >> you know, doug, for me, i think i have the greatest cabinet job in the united states of america. john podesta might agree with me. but i get to go from sea to shining sea and out into the
oceans, and it's part of my responsibility as secretary to watch these places. there was a time last year when i was at a national park in maine and watched what was happening in akadeya national park where you're having a rising sea and then where lake superior is now five degrees warmer than it was years ago and asking the scientists what that would mean for the ecosystem? that went from there to the glacier national park. we flew around glacier national park and saw the disappearance of the glaciers and the scientists, i don't know whether they are democrat or republican but they are telling us that the glaciers in glacier national park will disappear by 2020. that's like 80 years. so when i look at these issues, that's real. in the colorado river where we have one of the largest rivers
in america which is the place where most of our agricultural things are coming from. we are expecting to see a 20% guideline this the amount of water that will be available for knew the miss approximately and agricultural and other issues there. >> do you bring these matters to president obama, like, will you -- after you go to these places maine and wisconsin and montana, report back to the president a concern about these, you know, the disappearing glaciers, the rising tides? >> yes. we have an ongoing dialogue about these issues and was reflected in the american infiltrate outtoors and in terms of the push on conservation as well as the push to grasp new energy future for america. for me, in my role as interior, one of the things i'm proud of
stth is the fact that we have been able to move forward with renewable energy in a way that has never happened before. 2010 we permitted 3,210 megawatts of solar energy to the desert south west. that's the equivalent of 10 power plants where we are basically capturing the power of the sun to run our economy. >>si said the segue to renewable energy, how can renewable energy most be used on public lands? how can the government raise moneys and help get us off fossil fuels using wind turbines or solar? what's the interior's vision on that? >> we do have a significant role to may. because as we mansion with the forest service 30% of the land mass of the united states. we need appropriate places to site the renewable energy, so
if you take for example the southwestern part of our country, california, new mexico, colorado. the national renewable energy labs have all said that's where we have the greatest potential for solar energy development. we will make believes out of skeptics who say it cannot be done, because we have alreadied that ground breakings on what will become the largest scales in the world. once that electricity from those solar plants gets on the grid and people start seeing how we can capture the sun and clean energy, it will have a transformtival effect and start making believers out of the skeptics. so we have a significant role to play and spent a lot of time working on it recognizing that not every place of our public lands ought to be used for our solar energy or wind energy development. so our concept and slogan is senator from the start. we have to deconflict the places where oui going to place these renewable energy
facilities. >> one event that's happened today, is you've released a 10-year vision program for our national wildlife refugees, and we have over 500 and they are peck tackler saving habitat for the wildlife and the u.s. fish and wildlife does an incredible job of managing these. people think of national parks as being interior, but what is the 10-year vision that you have? the plan you're releasing on how to use our national wildlife refugees properly? >> we want to move forward with our next vision for the reality of what we're doing today in terms of wildlife refugees. we have an asset which belongs to the american people of 150 million acres. and these are some of the greatest pieces of land and
water areas in the world, from pelican island to the alaska wildlife refuge, to so many other places around the country. 553 of them 69 -- of them. and what we need to do is figure out where we're going in our nextgen ration and how we are connecting to people. we want to connect to young people and have them come out and understand what we do. so there's a planning with that as well and so in the months ahead it will tie into what we're going with the american great outdoors and the planning that went on. through a process, one of the things we will identify are a number of different candidates where additional fish and wildlife refugees we'll designate year and in the following years as well. >> you mentioned it's very controversial, because there's oil there. is the obama administration going to hold the line that
there will be no oil drilling in the artic refuge while the president is in office? is that a firm interior department position? >> yes. the president was clear on that. during his time as a u.s. senator, he was clear on his position with the national wildlife refuge and coastal planes -- during the time he was president, so that's the direction where we are. that's our position. >> we had the b.p. spill report, the riley gram report come out earlier this year. and a lot of your clock was eaten up having to grapple with that b.p. spill. where are we at in the south? what's going on with the wet lands? and from a conservation point of view, what is the interior doing in the gulf south that's making that particular ecosystem stronger and more viable for long-term wildlife prosperity? >> well, we have approximately
35 national parks and wildlife refugees in the gulf. and we have a huge interest in making sure those are protected and preserved. i will say this about b.p. oil spill. first it was a tragedy for the nation and there are a lot of lessons to be learned, and we'll move forward with oil and gas development in a way that hopefully will bring about a new gold standard for safety and oil and gas development. but i would also say that in many ways, i think the possibility is here that for the first time we'll be able to embark on a serious gulf coast rest ration efforts that funded. that will allow us to take the mississippi river delta that has been degraded by the hand of man over 150 years and we'll be able to restore the water from the mississippi river to have that delta rise again that
has been so degraded. that we'll be able to take the barrier eye lands and the gulf and make a lot more out of them than what they have been and deal with investment in places like the everglades andor important areas in the gulf coast. if b.p. is reliable and responsible for natural resource damages as well as other damages, then the president has endorsed the recommendation by secretary may bus and by others, says that penalties and others that are to be paid by the companies that have liability here, should go into ecological rest ration. so i think that what we have here is a possibility of turning this tragedy in the gulf of mexico into what will be one of the most significant ecological rest ration projects in america. >> would that include perhaps opening the floodgates, so to
speak of the mississippi river that's been channelized and allow sed ment into the gulf marsh lands? >> we have identified a list of projects, several billion dollars of projects. some of which relate to the diversion structures off the mississippi river. because essentially the continued degrade dation of that entire delta, which was there long before the b.p. oil spill is being caused in large part by the sed maintenance-steave starved marsh lands of the mississippi delta. so there are projects that are designed and close to permitting that we can move forward with as soon as we get the funding to do it. >> we deal with the word wildlife a lot. and sometimes it becomes bureaucratic here in washington. specifically as a rancher and someone whose seen all of our
landscapes, is there a particular speeshes you've taken interest in in your life and made sure you want to make sure it stays safe and healthy and thrives? is there a particular wildlife that's drawn you in personally in your career in life? >> the grizzly bear. it's such an iconic speeshes, and i hate to think that the grizzly bear and other kinds of speeshes will not walk the -- this planet, this earth so that our children or grandchildren can see it. so there's lots of debate always about the endangered speeshes act and what it does. but there's also tremendous successes. whether it's the hooping crane on the south river or whether it's the endangered fish on the colorado river or the grizzly or eagle or so many other speeshes that have been sfraved extinction, there's there's a lot that we can celebrate about these e.s.a.
doesn't mean we can't do things better, and my hope is we can do things better. because at the end of the day the speeshes are protected by how we protect the habitat. and be before we talk about the america's great outdoors and the connection of landscapes and next on rivers where most of our speeshes live, you really are looking at having construct i solutions and trying to get ahead. i mean, nobody wants to list any speeshes as threatened or endangered. that's not what the fish and wildlife service wants to do. so if we can get ahead to the right landscape scale conservation and have it protected, we'll be able to protect these iconic speeshes. >> do you remember where you were the first time you ever saw a grizzly? did you ever personally see one in the wild? >> i've never seen one in the wild. i've seen a lot of bears in the
wild that have been close to caves and bears in the san juan mountains. but never a grizzly out in the wild. i hope perhaps this summer, if i get a chance to go up into alaska or some of the areas we do know there are grizzlies that i will be able to see one. >> great. what in being a rancher in colorado and being connected to the land, what do you bring to being interior secretary coming at it from a rancher's perspective? >> i think first there's the philosophical thing the ramper or farmer brings to the land. as a rancher and farmer, you know that how you take care of the land will create your future. because if you don't take care of your land this year or -- in two or three or four years you've taken the rug out of -- out from under your feet.
i think most farmers and ranchers recognize that. also two, there's a political reality that we need to bring ranchers and farmers together with environment agencies to move forward the agenda that's not as polarized as sometimes it can be. and the story i just told you about the flint hills and the national conservation area there. that was a statement of american ewanty about how we were going to protect the ranching heritage of that area as well as this wonderful ecosystem. and that kind of template is happening all over america today, which is one of the things that makes me, as secretary, excited about the possibility of the americas -- america's great outdoors. >> you've been a very eloquent spokesperson on wilderness. the idea that many people live in congested cities and can't
get away to the refuge or glacier national park, how does the interior department create an urban wilderness and what is that? what do we mean by that phrase that's coming into voge? >> my hope is that the president in a very difficult time has proposed fully funding an atlanta conservation fund, and we hope to incentivize some of these things to happen at the local level. and as we have had conversations before, doug, i think it was the most important times in history where you had presidents stnt standing up for conservation like teddy roosevelt, he took on which you so account for in your book and john pa did he seea's book as well. what they did during depression for wildlife refugees and we're
at those times as well today. and my view is even though the times are tough economically, it's also the time for us to invest in conservation, because ultimately it's good economics for our country. so specifically urban wilderness, probably the best thing to do is give you one example. in my hometown and one home state of denver, you have two wildlife refugees, one that used to be an abandon military arsenal, and it's located right on the river. not too far down the road there's another wildlife refuge now called the rocky mountain or rocky flat. there are rivers through the south flat that cut between the two rivers in a tribute tear. it would be very easy with the leadership of the governor and the mayor of denver and i think they are there with us, to create an urban wilderness experience from those places that ties the 3 million people
of the defer metropolitan area to these wilderness areas that are located right within the city. last week i was in new york with mayor bloomberg, and we were talking about the future of the new york harbor and the hudsonest aware. but we own as the united states of america, about 27,000 acres of land. including jamaica bay. and the fact is we've never connected it all up to new york and its future. it's a huge opportunity to connect up the 18 million people through the right transportation corridors and improvement into these wildlife experiences. i expect it by the end of this year. we will have in place in new york city the greatest and largest urban campground in america. we're going to do that right in the middle of new york. in we can do that in new york, we can certainly do it in st. louis and lots of other places around the country. >> where is the urban campground in new york located?
a place called fort bennett's hill. it used to be a military base. it's been abandon, so there are plans underway to figure out what the of that field should be. it's right next to jamaica bay and a place where with the right type of planning, we can make it accessible and bring in kids from new york city and other people to experience great outdoors flight their own backyard. >> yesterday i was in dallas and talking with a group of officers in the u.s. military. some who have been in afghanistan. and i also interviewed general keen of our southern command in haiti, which is terribly deforested. and you want to see what happens to a place that's deforested, all you have to do is go to haiti. but it dawned on me many you know what i mean our armed forces love the public land. many of our soldiers grew up
hunting and fishing on our public land and used them for rec creational purposes. you don't go in the military to make a lot of money. so you're not going to be a big landowner, perhaps, if you're a career military officer. but having access to these great places in wild america is important. so can the interior work with the department of defense in any way to get a connection so when soldiers come back, using special programs between defense and interior? >> absolutely. and we have been doing that, making sure there's opportunities for our military personnel coming back, our veterans, to access our public lands and provide lots of programs for them. we are one of the lead agencies in terms of providing job opportunities for our military personnel coming back from afghanistan and iraq. it's something that we take very seriously. it's also, if i may, a note on
rural america here, because 40% of our people who go into our military are people that come from the rural parts of the united states of america. even though 16% of our population is rural, they provide 40% of the personnel who actually go into our military services. for people in rural america, there's a great connection into the outdoors for a lot of reasons. one is tradition and heritage, but there's also a great sense of the economic connection. so when you go to communities that are close to a national park, frankly, many of those exist because a national park is there. and thinking back to the p.b.s. series of dayton duncan and ken burns where they spoke about america's best idea, the national park. when they described that program, they say, you know, what we have here in the united states in terms of the park system and conservation is uniquely american and uniquely
democratic, because these places like yosemite and places are not just reserved for the kings and noblemen but also for the common person, and i thinks that so unique for us here in the united states that it's a concept we need to continue to make sure everybody understands and we keep pushing forward. >> well, thank you very much mr. secretary, and i'm going to now start with some of the questions. this comes from fernando clemente. and he asks as a sportsman of new mexico, i would like to know how is the america's great outdoors program help us see that artero mesa will become a national monument. >> [laughter] >> well. we've had many conversations with senator you dal and senator bingalman who are very interested in that happening, and aye had conversations with
governor richardson as well so it's one of those situations where we want to hear more from the public with respect to how we protect those areas, so that's part of what we're going to be doing through this meck's great outdoors process, and besides that mesa, there's a huge opportunity we have to create a new national park at a place called viascondetta. it's a wonderful historic place, and we're hopeful we'll be able to move that along. so lots of different projects in new mexico that we're looking at. and it tells me that in every state whether it's the state of utah, wyoming or new york or maine or florida that people have these ideas. and what we want to do is through this dialogue we were having with the american people is have these ideas surface including this idea on ar you
are theo mesa. >> this is from sheldon. he asks you to please discuss the wildlife policy you just announced. many republicans on the hill have vowed to kill the policy. can you discuss the misrepresentations out there about this policy? >> well, there's, you know, we, as we manage the public estate, from my point of view, we need make sure we're managing it for all of its purposes including wilderness characteristics. and that's part of what we do. as i said the said with our conversation, it's less than 9% of the public domain that has a wilderness or wilderness buddy area. we will inventory those that have wilderness characteristics and our management approach will take that into account. i will say this. there are people who have made more of this issue than they should have, including people doing it for whatever political
agenda they want to serve. but it's interesting when you look at the bill that had been introduced even in this house of representatives that there are wilderness bills that have been introduced by a number of republicans, because wilderness is not a bad thing, and they recognize this. somebody handed me this as i was coming on the way over, and i was going through these things. representative darryl eye sew. the beauty wilderness act of 2011. representative dryer. the los angeles and san bern did know national forest act. representative in central idaho. it goes on in terms of places that are being designated as wilderness including from republicans from within the house of representist. so i think one -- hournts. so i think the one thing we can do is tone down the rhetoric and say we in the united states
have some very special places. they are not republican or democratic places. they are not independent places. they belong to all of us. and yes. republicans can support wilderness and democrats can support wilderness. and i think we can find some common ground here, so i'm hopeful to look forward conversations. >> how does -- oh, this is from manuel of the sierra club. how does the department of the interior plan to prioritize climate-smart land management plants? p.s., great a.g.o. report. [laughter] >> you got a fan letter but they want to know basically how are you going to prioritize climate smart land management plans? you touched on that. but you might want to elaborate more. >> yes. what we are doing is developing climate centers around the
country, and we do have support even in this congressional resolution that was passed out of the house of representatives. they are still considering support for the science centers because there is recognition that climate is having an impact on the world and the united states and that we need to better understand it. so we have climate science centers we're opening up in anchorage and places working with other federal and state agencies and universities so that we have the best science available to us as we continue to plan for the impacts that we're going to have from climate change. doug, it's always interesting to me. when you talk about climate change, a lot of times it gets very hot and political right away. you get down to the colorado river basin and you're talking about or talking to people from wyoming, utah, the seven states that share the colorado river base.